Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hefty deposit for hospitalising baby and refund takes too long

11 July 2011
Straits Times
(c) 2011 Singapore Press Holdings Limited

MY 21-MONTH-OLD daughter was recently hospitalised at the National University Hospital (NUH) due
to high fever.

The only available ward was Class A1, so we decided to take that. To our horror, we found out that a
deposit of $5,000 was required. We inquired about Class B1 and were told that would require a deposit
of $3,000.

We had no choice but to place the $5,000 deposit due to my daughter's condition. I asked the staff when
this deposit would be returned as I had used my credit card and was worried about the hefty interest
charges. The reply was that it would take two months.

I asked whether the time taken to return the deposit would be shorter if I paid my bill in full when my
daughter was discharged, and the answer was 'no'.

I have a few queries:

* Why does it take two months for the deposit to be credited back to the patient?
* What if the hospital does not have available beds in the lower-class wards and the family cannot afford
the hospital deposit?

* Why are hospitals allowed to take such a hefty deposit when so many of us have Medisave accounts
which should be there to protect and lessen the amount of cash we have to fork out for our medical
bills?

Shahnawaz Saleem

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